Different Hemp CBD Extraction Methods

Natural Hemp CBD
Natural Hemp CBD
CBD Distillate
CBD Distillate

Almost all the CBD products available in the market are made from hemp extracts and this has a great influence on the quality of the product. To enjoy the maximum benefits, you need to use a high quality CBD product. Because there is a plethora of cannabidiol infused items available in the market, the easiest way to filter out substandard products is by using the CBD extraction method as a criteria. Some of the widely used extraction methods are CO2 extraction, steam distillation and solvent or hydrocarbon extraction. Shared below are details of different hemp CBD extraction methods.

Why Is It Necessary To Extract CBD?

You need to extract hemp CBD from the hemp plant to make it into a concentrated form so that people can consume it. You cannot consume raw hemp as you have to decarboxylate or heat it to become effective. So the best way to consume is in the form of oils or capsules made from hemp extracts, and they need to be decarboxylated for our bodies to get maximum benefit. The other benefit of the extraction process is that it removes unnecessary compounds that can be harmful for the body.

Solvent Extraction

In solvent extraction, they use a solvent such as butane, ethanol, isopropyl alcohol or propane to extract the cannabinoids including CBD from the hemp plant material. The plant material is soaked in the solvent inside a container; this dissolves them including the waxes and strips away the cannabinoids. Then, this mixture is collected separately and heated so that the solvent evaporates. This leaves behind concentrated oil that is rich in cannabinoids and it will have unwanted chlorophyll that gives it a bitter taste. This is one of the least expensive methods and one of its downsides is that if there is any solvent residue it can be toxic.

The problem with this method is that the solvents do not evaporate properly and hence the CBD concentration is low compared to other methods. Also, the presence of chlorophyll in the final product makes it necessary for expensive post filtration methods to purify it. One of the methods used is the winterisation process to remove unwanted impurities and waxes.

CO2 Extraction

Similar to solvent extraction, CO2 extraction uses supercritical carbon dioxide to extract the cannabinoids from the hemp plant. At supercritical point carbon dioxide possesses the properties of both fluid and gas, thereby making it a very effective solvent. Besides, it is a neutral compound that does not take part in any chemical reaction and makes it safe or non-toxic.

First CO2 gas is exposed to high pressure and low temperature so that it reaches supercritical state. Next, it is passed into another pressurised chamber containing the hemp plant materials where it dissolves them stripping away the cannabinoids and other compounds. After this, the mixture is passed into another chamber where the gas evaporates leaving behind a concentrated liquid . Its advantage is that the solvating property of carbon dioxide can be fine-tuned by adjusting the pressure so that you get the maximum amount of extraction. So, the efficiency of this method is very high- as much as 92% compared to other methods.

This method needs expensive machinery to bring CO2 to supercritical temperature and requires trained people to operate it. So the price of CO2 hemp extract CBD products will be on the higher end and most of the high quality products from reputable brands use this method in the manufacturing process.

Steam Distillation

In steam distillation steam is used to separate CBD oil from the hemp plant material. The hemp plant is contained in a glass flask that has an inlet for water vapour and an outlet into a condenser. The water vapour travels into the glass container containing hemp plant materials and separates CBD oil vapours from plant material. This is then passed through the outlet into the condenser where it is cooled down into oil and water. The condensate is then distilled and we get CBD distillate of concentrated oil. This is a tried and tested method used for centuries to extract essential oils, but it is rarely used because of the very low efficiency. One of the risks with this method is that if the steam is too hot, it can denature the cannabinoids contained in the hemp plant material.

Olive Oil Extraction

This is one of the most reliable and oldest extraction methods, it can be done at home due to its simplicity. First the raw plant materials are decarboxylated or heated to activate the cannabinoids. Then the olive oil and decarboxylated plant materials are heated together to extract the cannabinoids. Since you cannot remove the solvent i.e. olive oil, it will not be very concentrated compared to other extraction methods. The big disadvantage of this method is that the oil will be easily spoiled if you don’t store it properly and hence not suitable for all.

So, if you want a good quality hemp CBD product, then go for one that is extracted using carbon dioxide extraction method.